It’s not the first time I’ve realized this: the trip begins now, at home. There’s a moment at which I know it’s begun and that’s not necessarily just when it’s been decided that I’m really going. And making the airline reservations doesn’t officially signify the trip’s beginning. Nor do the moments when I download travel guides to my iPad or start the blog. The beginning of the trip for me is when I start the packing list and when I actually envision myself in the location. It happened today. I wrote down “flip-flops” on a blank sheet of “paper” (actually on the iPad using the app ‘Penultimate’) with the heading Packing List: Morocco and Turkey. And another clue: I found myself thinking of the trip all day long whilst driving across South Dakota, envisioning myself in the markets, on a camel, in the desert, at a Turkish bath, buying rugs, drinking strong coffee, etcetera. I imagined the smell of the spice markets, the sound of the traffic, the sting of sand on my face, the voices in the markets… Today it’s official: I’m taking a trip to Africa and the Middle East!